Can firewood be too old?

jazzman111December 30, 2008

I recently bought a half cord of firewood for casual fireplace use. Once I started using it, I found it didn't burn anywhere near as well as the firewood I'd bought the previous year, which seemed well cured and pretty much all oak. This wood is clearly old, the bark has fallen off a number of the split logs, and the logs are "dirty", i.e. there's bits of old bark, etc. on many of them. Also, while not an expert, some seem clearly to be oak, but others I recognize as black birch and others--who knows? What bothers me most is that the wood does not burn very well--it burns slowly and not very completely--I have to keep adding wood to keep the flames up. Can someone tell me what's going on here? I'm guessing I got the guy's "miscellaneous" pile that has been hanging around a long time.

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My guess is that it was stacked where it was rained upon. This happens to me, with my own firewood, when I use stuff which I haven't had tarped. As long as it isn't rotten, it should straighten out okay. Tarp your firewood. Also, if you can do it, stack a fair amount near where you will burn it (inside). If it is stacked near your fireplace, it will dry out faster yet.

If I'm correct, your wood will begin to burn more normally within a week.

Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   December 30, 2008 at 1:23PM
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RuthieG__TX(z8 TX)

We use old wood all the time and it isn't a problem. Some woods just burn hotter than others and have different qualities...some harder and some softer. People who use wood cook stoves, often select the wood to use for how how or prolonged they want their fires. I don't know a lot about it just voicing a few thoughts.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2008 at 3:35PM
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I think both of your comments are accurate. I think the wood was stored uncovered, but now that it's drying out, it's burning a lot better.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2009 at 3:40PM
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